Our weekly column in which writers reveal their current in-the-margains pop culture obsession.
Do you know one of the things I love most about the Internet? The whip-smart parody Twitter accounts that rise and fall like ancient regimes. Here today, gone tomorrow. Rulers of the world, then buried forever in a layer of social media sediment.
A few rise above the noise to be baked into collective consciousness – like @Horse_ebooks and @FilmCriticHULK. But most are just a flash-in-the-pan. Yet while they last, these anonymous satirists can bring a much needed chuckle to a Twitter feed oscillating between political debate and Instagram photos of everyone”s idealized life and lunch choices.
To that end, my current favorite is @AwfulFantasy. Every day, this ode to the purple prose of yesterday sticks it to overblown fantasy tropes. Whether involving high fantasy, space fantasy, or new-fangled steampunk, no sub-genre is safe from their loving barbs.
“Of all the hobbit-holes in The Shire, this dame had to walk into mine. Tall as she was beautiful. 2'3″ and feet as hairy as my last case.”
– Awful Fantasy (@AwfulFantasy) January 27, 2015
As someone who grew up reading Frank Herbert”s “Dune” and L. Ron Hubbard”s “Battlefield Earth,” I am no stranger to a beloved author using three words where one will do. Looking at you, Edgar Rice Burroughs. And for every Robert Jordan, there are a hundred other authors churning out pulpy goodness about burly men in loincloths and the damsels in distress that loved them.
“'How'd you get that scar?' he asked. 'Burnt by soup,' Tret grunted. 'Not every scar is from battle. That's how realistic this world is.'”
– Awful Fantasy (@AwfulFantasy) August 21, 2014
The best thing about AwfulFantasy is how non-malicious it is. Whoever is running this gig is a fan of fantasy. After all, you can”t truly make fun of something unless you are immersed in the subject matter. They”re pointing out terrible tropes and outdated archetypes…but sprinkled with love and a wink.
Whether it”s taking on the old chestnut that beauty=good…
“The children helped the Princess tend her garden, so she baked them a delicious pie-filled with glass shards. Don't trust strangers.”
– Awful Fantasy (@AwfulFantasy) January 17, 2015
Or making puns worthy of any Dad Joke™ hall of fame…
“After impaling Ben, the haunted bicycle turned hungrily to the remaining heroes. Jellena readied her axe, “Let's stop this vicious cycle.'”
– Awful Fantasy (@AwfulFantasy) August 28, 2014
Or arbitrarily getting really nit-picky…
“'I smash you to nothing!' said the ogre. 'That's physically impossible,' said Dean. The others agreed, and the ogre admitted he was wrong.”
– Awful Fantasy (@AwfulFantasy) February 12, 2015
Not even authors are immune.
“Dear Reader: I have a confession. I lost the notes for my 100+ established characters two books ago. I have no idea how to end my series.”
– Awful Fantasy (@AwfulFantasy) March 13, 2015
So if you”ve ever read a novel and thought, “Oh my God, the heroine has purple eyes again?” or “Of course the farm boy is the Chosen One” while your eyes roll out of your head, please join me in saluting the fine work of the mind or minds behind @AwfulFantasy!